Concern as Barclays announces closure of two Northern Ireland branches
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Once the two sites shut the closest Barclays branch will be Castle Street, Belfast.
This decision comes as part of a wider trend, reflecting the changing face of banking in the UK and worldwide.
In a statement, a spokesperson confirmed the closure of both sites adding ‘we plan to open a Barclays Local in Coleraine and Newry’.
They also stated that they ‘do not intend to make anyone redundant as a direct result of this closure’ at the Coleraine branch.
The spokesperson, continued: “As visits to branches continue to fall, with the majority of people preferring to bank online, we need to adapt to provide the best service for all our customers. This is reflected at Coleraine and Newry, where we are delivering new ways to support our customers and the community with options for those who need in-person services.
“In Coleraine and Newry we plan to open a Barclays Local – a cashless banking site where customers can meet a colleague face-to-face for banking support, as they would in a branch and without the need to travel. We are currently working with the local community to identify a suitable location and will announce details once confirmed.”
The Coleraine branch is to close on February 23 with the Newry site closing on February 16
In response SDLP East Derry MLA Cara Hunter expressed her concern stating that the local community will ‘lose a vital lifeline’ with the closure of the branch.
East Derry MLA Ms Hunter, added: “The news of the closure of the Barclays Bank branch in Coleraine will be very disappointing to the many people in this area who rely on this branch and the services it provides. We have seen many bank branches in this area closing their doors in the last few years, meaning that those who want to continue with in-person banking have very few options or are expected to travel to access these services.
“I understand that more and more people are accessing online banking, but we must also cater for the people who still prefer to do their banking at a local branch. Older people in particular access local banking services on a regular basis to obtain their pension and pay their bills, and they will be concerned they will have nowhere to turn for help and support following this latest closure. In rural areas like East Derry people often struggle with digital connectivity issues which will create further barriers to online banking.
“We are fortunate that we still have Post Office branches which can offer help and assistance following the recent bank closures. I have recently met with the Post Office to discuss the services that they offer and how they can fill the gap left by banks. I welcome Barclays commitment to offering some services through a community location and I will continue engaging with the bank to ensure that the needs of people in this area are met and that everybody can access a form of banking that suits them best.”
It has been reported that the Northern Ireland closures are part of a Barclays UK wide plans which include 16 branch closures over the coming months. The banking giant will pull the shutters down on 13 sites in England, one in Wales and two in Northern Ireland on February 24.